Guhyagarbha Tantra (with Commentary)

by Gyurme Dorje | 1987 | 304,894 words

The English translation of the Guhyagarbha Tantra, including Longchenpa's commentary from the 14th century. The whole work is presented as a critical investigation into the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, of which the Guhyagarbhatantra is it's principle text. It contains twenty-two chapters teaching the essence and practice of Mahayoga, which s...

Text 15.6 (Commentary)

[Guhyagarbha-Tantra, Text section 15.6]

... Then, when that process of maturation of the coarse obscurations of past deeds has gradually diminished, and one is united with one's previous existence, as a tormented spirit, one becomes a great ogre who is most venomous and fierce. Such beings have one body with a hundred heads, and with diverse kinds of heads, or they have a hundred bodies with a single head. They have diverse kinds of bodies, with many limbs and diverse kinds of limbs. They bear diverse kinds of harmful hand-implements, and they have a multitude of retainers. They have diverse terrifying forms, and they bellow diverse kinds of terrifying roar. Their forms and roars, stench and bad breath cause all beings to panic in fear. With black vital energy, which is utterly terrifying, and with breath which is cold and hot they disturb the cosms (chiliocosms) throughout the ten directions. They inflict four hundred and four kinds of disease: and they cause insanity and debility. Through these powers, they subjugate the Nāga domains, the realms of the antigods, the god-realms, and those of Brahmakāyika, Abhāsvara, Śubhakṛtsna, and Bṛhatphala downwards. [6] ...


de-nas las-kyi sgrib brtsub-mo'i rnam-par smin-pa-de khad-kyis bsrabs-pa-dang / sngon-gyi srid-pas mtshams-sbyar-nas / yi-dvgas srin-po chen-po rab-tu gdug-pa gtum-po lus-gcig-la mgo brgya-pa-dang / mgo-bo sna-tshogs-dang / lus brgya-la mgo-bo gcig-pa-dang / lus sna-tshogs-pa-dang / yan-lag mang-po-dang / yan-lag sna-tshogs-pa-dang / gdug-pa'i lag-cha sna-tshogs thogs-pa / 'khor rab-tu mang-po-dang / 'jigs-pa'i gzugs sna-tshogs-dang / 'jigs-pa'i nga-ro sna-tshogs sgrogs-pa / gzugs-dang nga-ro-dang / dri-dang kha-rlangs-kyis / thams-cad skyi-bung zhes byed-pa / rab-tu 'jigs-pa'i rlung-nag-dang / grang-ba-dang / tsha-ba'i dbugs-kyis phyogs-bcu kun-tu khams 'khrug-par byed-pa / nad-bzhi brgya-rtsa-bzhis 'debs-par byed-pa / myos-shing nyams-par byed-pa'i mthus / klu'i rigs-dang / lha-ma-yin-gyi ris-dang / lha'i ris-dang / tshangs-ba'i ris-dang / 'od-gsal-dang / dge-rgyas-dang / 'bras-bu che-ba man-chad dbang-du bsdus-so / [6]


[ii. The second part concerns the result associated with that causal basis which is one harmful to others. (It comments on Ch. 15.6):]

Then (de-nas), when that process of maturation of the coarse (rtsub-mo'i rnam-par smin-pa de) obscurations of (-kyi sgrib-pa) one's past deeds (las), or causal basis for birth among the tormented spirits, has also gradually diminished (khad-kyis bsrabs-pa) the rough (causal basis) comes to an end; and (dang) one is united (mtshams-sbyar) and born with (-pas) the mind of Rudra and an existence (srid) determined by the karma of subtle causal basis and of one's previous (sngon-gyi) birth—i.e. as when one has (previously) meditated on a wrathful deity with many heads and arms, and clung to it as (a being with) individual characteristics, and then visualised a retinue of Piśācīs and so forth, recited harsh wrathful mantras, and practised the four shocking things (dngos-po bzhi).[1] While this form is essentially one assumed as a tormented spirit (yi-dyags), one then becomes or takes on the guise of a great ogre (srin-po chen-po) bearing weapons, heads and skulls, who is most venomous (rab-tu gdugs-pa) in anger and terrifyingly fierce (gtum-po). Such beings have miraculous abilities—they have one body with a hundred heads (lus gcig-la mgo brgya-pa), and (dang) with diverse (sna-tshogs-dang) dissimilar kinds of head (mgo-bo) such as those of a tiger or lion. There are gods, antigods and so forth who have a hundred bodies (lus brgya-la) with a single head (mgo-bo gcig-pa-dang) like that of a buffalo, those who have diverse kinds of bodies (lus sna-tshogs-pa-dang) such as that of an elephant or sea-monster, those who have a single body with many limbs (yan-lag mang-po-dang) and diverse kinds of limbs (yan-lag sna-tshogs-pa-dang) dissimilar in colour and form. They bear diverse kinds of harmful hand-implements (gdug-pa'i lag-cha sna-tshogs thogs-pa) including stones and spears, and they have a multitude of retainers ('khor rab-tu mang-po-dang) including Mātarīs, sha-za, and Ḍākinīs.[2] They have diverse terrifying forms ('jigs-pa'i gzugs sna-tshogs-dang) including those whose limbs appear as snakes and those which carry wings on their bodies, and they bellow diverse kinds of terrifying roar ('jigs-pa'i nga-ro sna-tshogs sgrogs-pa)—rala rala, rulu rulu, and so forth. As for their conduct, their terrifying forms and (gzugs-dang) unpleasant roars (nga-ro), their foul stench and (dri-dang) bad breath (kha-rlangs-kyis) which suffocate and bring plague and sickness cause all beings to panic in fear (thams-cad skyi-bud zhes byed-pa). They cover all directions with the darkness of their black vital energy, which is utterly terrifying (rab-tu 'jigs-pa'i rlung-nag) and with breath which is cold and hot (-dang grang-ba-dang tsha-ba'i dbugs-kyis). They disturb ('khrug-par byed-pa) all the chiliocosms throughout the ten directions (phyogs-bcu kun-tu khams), zenith and nadir. They inflict ('debs-par byed-pa) on living beings four hundred and four kinds of disease (nad bzhi-brgya rtsa-bzhis) derived from a combination of wind, bile and phlegm,[3] and they have inconceivable powers to cause (byed-pa) insanity (myos) of mind and (dang) debility (nyams-par) of body and recollection.

Through these powers (-'i mthus), they subjugate (dbang-du bsdus-so) the Nāga domains (klu'i ris-dang) of Nanda, Takṣaka and so forth, the realms of the antigods (lha ma-yin-gyi ris-dang) such as Vemacitra, the God realms (lha'i ris) of desire including those of Indra and Viṣṇu, i.e. those from the Parinirmittavaśavartin downwards, and those of the twelve ordinary God-realms downwards (man-chad); namely Brahmakāyika (tshangs-pa'i ris-dang). Brahmapurohita, and Mahābrahmā which sustain the first concentration; Parīttābha, Apramāṇābha, and Ābhāsvara ('od-gsal-dang) which sustain the second concentration; Parīttaśubha, Apramāṇaśubha, and Śubhakṛtsna (dge-rgyas-dang) which sustain the third concentration; and Anabhraka, Puṇyaprasava, and Bṛhatphala ('bras-bu che-ba) which sustain the fourth concentration.[4]

[Subjugation by the Wrathful Deities of Pristine Cognition who Grant Instruction (511.6-534.4):]

The latter part (of the detailed exegesis—see p. 1096) concerns the subjugation (of such venomous beings) by the wrathful deities of pristine cognition who grant instruction.

[It has two aspects, the first of which is the observation of the beings to be trained. (It comments on Ch. 15.7):]

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Footnotes and references:


See above note 7.


On the subjugation of these female consorts, who comprise the twenty-eight Īśvarī and their retinues, and on the emergence of the Mātarī, Piśācī, and gatekeepers from their union with the Herukas, see below, pp. 1122-1136. The sha-za are identified with the Piśācī.


On these ailments, see above. Ch. 5. note 2; also Rechung Rinpoche, Tibetan Medicine. Ch 2, section 12.


On these kāmadhātu and rūpadhātu realms, see the chart in NSTB, Book 1, introduction; also ibid., Pt. 1. pp. 10a-11b.

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